The Government provides both financial help and tax relief for businesses affected by natural disasters. This assistance is not designed to replace insurance and is only available to businesses with a genuine need of financial assistance.
The ATO can assist your business through the following means:
- Allowing more time to lodge tax returns & activity statements
- Allowing more time to pay tax debts without incurring charges
- Allowing affected people and businesses to pay tax debts by installments
- Waiving any penalties or interest that may have been charged
- Fast tracking refunds
- Release from tax debts if you are suffering serious financial hardship (only available to sole traders)
The type of assistance you can receive will depend upon the state you are in and each natural disaster. Under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements the government may provide a recovery grant of up to $15,000 for clean up and immediate restoration. You may also receive help through the community recovery fund.
Each of the states can also grant concessional loans to businesses for carry-on and re-establishment costs. If you are in NSW and you are eligible the Rural Assistance Authority can grant you a concessional loan of up to $130,000. This loan includes a concessional rate of interest which is fixed for the term of the loan (up to 10 years) and is only available if you are unable to obtain commercial finance. There are a number of criteria to determine if you are eligible to receive a loan. These include:
- Your main business operates within a Local Government Area that has been declared a natural disaster
- You lodge the application within 6 months of the natural disaster
- You earn the majority of your gross income from your business
- You are in working occupation of your business
- You are in urgent & genuine need of financial assistance
- You can demonstrate your business has long-term viability and the capacity to repay the loan
The Government will take into account any other assets or investments that you have to determine if you genuinely require assistance.
For concessional loans in NSW contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
- Related articles:
- How to Negotiate with the ATO During Financial Hardship
- Where to Turn After a Natural Disaster
The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information.